Canada can take advantage of U.S. for-profit education scandals

While U.S. colleges and universities have historically been thought of as not-for-profit organizations — an approach that supports the fact that for-profit outfits are unable to pay the same taxes they would otherwise be…

Canada can take advantage of U.S. for-profit education scandals

While U.S. colleges and universities have historically been thought of as not-for-profit organizations — an approach that supports the fact that for-profit outfits are unable to pay the same taxes they would otherwise be forced to pay — data from the 2016-17 federal tax year shows that on the whole, Canada’s federal tax system is funding for-profit schools. While this is no surprise to anyone aware of the problems with both tuition-charging for-profit education providers and the payoffs they collect from students and parents, recent reports suggest that the status quo may have to change if Canada is to keep up with education standards being achieved in the United States.

The nonprofit sector has long been considered the best way to go for protecting education funding, but Canada has a lot to learn from its North American peers. One particularly shocking example concerns international students and student aid. For many years, U.S. colleges have made an effort to attract international students in the face of decreased interest in Canada from the United States. That’s a case where U.S. colleges have ignored Canadian law and attempted to steal their students, in some cases even peddling fake financial aid on a Canadian website, featuring a blatant rip-off of the Canadian federal government. The practice itself hasn’t worked, but there are signs of movement, with the Trump administration recently relaxing policies on immigration to U.S. colleges in an effort to lure more international students, and some institutions making moves to make Canadian students feel more welcome.

There’s one U.S. State University institution that provides some hope for Canada, however: the University of San Diego. As reported in The Guardian, the university is the only U.S. school to obtain a “good” ranking (Grade 4 out of five) in the Canadian Association of University Teachers’ report, the first-ever to “evaluate and compare university reputations throughout the world.” The high scores for the university, such as for teacher education programs, are meaningful — and it’s a huge achievement, and one with huge potential for Canada.

Clearly, the future for Canadian students wanting to go to universities in the United States is going to involve making an effort to support and study at an institution that’s also regarded as offering high quality educational opportunities. In the meantime, the Canadian government should keep in mind that there are many taxpayer-funded educational institutions in Canada, all of which are striving to be excellent institutions of higher learning.

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